If you're meeting someone for the first time, a blind date or an internet date, always drive yourself, meet in a public place, carry a phone with 911 on speed dial and tell a friend where you are going and what time you should be home. Arrange a time to call them and let them know you're safe. Even better, have a friend go keep an eye on you at the public place.
Don't go home with a person on the first or even second meeting, even if you hit it off and want privacy. Do try to see their driver's license with their address on it. Do run them through public databases like oscn.net to see if they have past or present criminal charges or protective orders, lawsuits, etc.
Trust your intuition. If something feels off about the person, it probably is. Don't think you're being paranoid and don't worry about offending your match. It's better to be rude, than to be a victim. People who are genuinely nice, will understand you are being careful and know the times we live in.
Look for warning signs a person may be abusive. One of the biggies is jealously, especially if it's unfounded or persistent or leads them to do irrational or hurtful things.
Possessiveness and controlling behavior are the next step on the path toward abuse. Partners should expect you to meet their every demand and shouldn't want to keep you from your friends and family. They shouldn't be uncomfortable with you being away doing your own thing.
Violent behavior, even if it's not directed at you, can be a bad sign. If they have a short temper, drink too much or do drugs or have a history of bad relationships and try to pressure you into things that make you feel uncomfortable, get out. Don't let them blame you for their outburst.
Date rape is a very real crime, but, may not be as violent. Make sure you say "NO" clearly and firmly and don't allow room for negotiation. Don't remain silent. Some men interpret that as "yes." If it happens, report it immediately. Don't shower, smoke, drink, use the restroom or change clothes.
Watch your drink. Drinking too much can lead to irresponsible decisions. Keep your hand over your drink so no one slips in a drug. If you walk away from your drink (to use the restroom or dance, etc) don't drink from the glass again.
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